USC Hosts UCLA On Sunday
Feb. 11, 2010
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC Trojans (14-9, 6-5) will host the UCLA Bruins (11-12, 6-5) at the Galen Center on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on FSN with Steve Physioc and Marques Johnson calling the action and Michael Eaves providing sideline commentary. The game will also be aired live on USC radio flagship station ESPN 710 AM with Pete Arbogast and Jim Hefner calling the action.
SCOUTING THE BRUINS -- UCLA is coming off a 72-58 home loss vs. California on Feb. 6, but has won four of its last six games since losing 67-46 to USC at home on Jan. 16 The Bruins have four players averaging double figures in scoring: Michael Roll (13.6), Malcolm Lee (12.3), Nikola Dragovic (11.5) and Reeves Nelson (11.2). UCLA leads the all-time series with USC, 128-102. USC is 1-4 in the last five home games against the Bruins and have not defeated its rival at the Galen Center (0-3). However, the Trojans are 8-9 in the last 17 games vs. UCLA and 4-4 in the last eight at Pauley Pavilion.
TROJANS WIN IN THE NIK OF TIME -- Forward Nikola Vucevic's tip-in with 21 seconds left gave USC a one-point lead and Marcus Johnson and Dwight Lewis each added a pair of free throws in a 54-49 victory vs. Stanford on Feb. 6 at the Galen Center. The Trojans jumped on the Cardinal early and opened up a 14-point lead midway through the first half, but led by only one at the break. Stanford overcame an eight-point second-half deficit to take a 44-40 lead with 7:43 left before USC mounted its own comeback. Vucevic finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season.
HUSKIES ON DECK -- Washington (16-7, 6-5) will play at California on Feb. 11 and at Stanford on Feb. 13 before hosting USC on Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Washington is 16-1 at home this season, tops in the Pac-10. Washington is averaging 81.3 points per game, tops in the Pac-10 and 11th nationally. Leading the way for the Huskies is Quincy Pondexter who averages 20.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and Isaiah Thomas, who averages 17.1 points per game. USC defeated Washington 87-61 at the Galen Center on Jan. 23 to take a 66-65 lead in the all-time series. USC is 1-4 in the last five games at Washington.
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS -- USC enters the game having allowed 1288 points in its first 23 games (56.0 ppg), its fewest through 22 games since allowing 1170 points in the first 23 games of the 1950-51 season. USC is fourth in the country in points allowed per game at 56.0. USC held 9 consecutive opponents to 56 points or less from Dec. 8-Jan. 6 (longest streak since 12 in the 1947-48 season). USC has held 14 opponents to 56 points or less this season and only twice has allowed more than 67 points (69 at Texas and 79 at Georgia Tech).
SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE -- In Pac-10 games, UCLA leads conference teams with a .491 shooting percentage while USC leads in field goal defense, holding opponents to a .378 percentage from the field. In the game at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 16, USC held the Bruins to 33.3 percent shooting (15-for-45).
TAKING NOTE... -- USC is 11-1 when taking more FTs than its opponents...In Pac-10 games, USC is the only team with all losses by 10 points or less...USC has led or been tied in the 2nd half in all 11 Pac-10 games...in USC's five Pac-10 losses, it has committed 102 fouls, while the opponent only 60...USC is 8-1 in games it scores 60 or more points...USC is 5-1 vs. teams it is tied with or behind in the Pac-10 standings and is 1-4 vs. teams it leads...Nikola Vucevic has averaged 12.2 points and 11.0 rebounds in the last 5 games.
VUCEVIC'S SOPHOMORE SURGE -- Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic is tied for second in the Pac-10 this season with nine double-doubles, his last being an 18-point, 14-rebound effort vs. Stanford on Feb. 6. He collected his eighth with 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. Cal on Feb. 4, had 10-points, 11-rebounds at Oregon on Jan. 30 and 11 points and 13 rebounds vs. Washington on Jan. 23, giving him four double-doubles in his last five games. He matched a career high with 19 points at UCLA on Jan. 16 (9-for-12), scoring 17 points in the second half. Vucevic had 15 points and 10 rebounds vs. Tennessee on Dec. 19 for his fifth double-double. He had 14 points and posted a career-high 15 rebounds on Dec. 8 vs. Sac. State, his first 19-point game and 11 rebounds vs. LMU on Nov. 21, 15 points and 12 rebounds vs. Coppin St. on Nov. 27 and 18 points and 14 rebounds at Texas on Dec. 3. He is averaging 11.8 points and 9.8 rebounds, after averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman last season. His 9.8 rebounds per game leads all Pac-10 players.
JOHNSON'S SECOND SENIOR SEASON -- USC senior G/F Marcus Johnson, who played the second semester last season after transferring to USC from UConn, was granted another year of eligibilty by the NCAA following the season, but penalized two games for playing in an exhibition game in the 2007-08 season. USC is 26-12 in games he has been available to play in the two seasons. In his first game this season on Nov. 27 vs. CSU, Johnson had 11 points, three rebounds and a steal. Johnson scored his then USC high of 19 points and had a career-high nine rebounds vs. UNLV on Dec. 25. He set a new career high with 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting vs. Washington on Jan. 23. Johnson leads USC with 29 steals and is third in rebounds with 99 and blocks with 12. He has scored in double figures 11 times this season.
THE BIG FELLA FLEXES HIS MUSCLES AGAINST CAL -- Alex Stepheson had 10 points, 8 rebounds and blocked 3 shots in 20 minutes of action vs. California on Feb. 4. In 21 games this season, he has averaged 9.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He has six or more rebounds in 16 of 21 games and is second among Pac-10 players with an average of 3.5 offensive rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 22 points at Georgia Tech on Dec. 5 and then had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks vs. Sacramento State on Dec. 8 for his second career double-double. Stepheson then had his third career double-double vs. Idaho State on Dec. 11 with 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. In the game vs. Tennessee on Dec. 19, Stepheson had 19 points and a new career high with 15 rebounds to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for the week of Dec. 14-20. He played in his first game as a Trojan after more than a year away from competition on Nov. 27 vs. Coppin State, then registered his first career double-double on Nov. 29 vs. Nebraska with 13 points and a then career-best 12 rebounds.
GERRITY PROVIDES CLARITY -- Senior Mike Gerrity has played 15 games and led USC to an 10-5 record. In his first game after sitting out the first semester due to tranfer rules, he led USC to a 77-55 upset of then No. 9 Tennessee on Dec. 19 and then to the championship of the Diamond Head Classic while earning Tournament MVP honors. Gerrity scored 15 of his team-high 17 points after halftime to help USC to a 55-51 comeback victory over Western Michigan on Dec. 22. He followed that up with a team-high 17 points including hitting a key three-pointer late in the game in the semifinals win vs. Saint Mary's on Dec. 23. In the finals vs. UNLV on Dec. 25, he had 13 points and three assists without a turnover against UNLV's tough press. He was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 21-27. Gerrity has averaged 9.6 points, 3.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds in his first 15 games. His 10 assists vs. Tennessee were the most by a Trojan since Daniel Hackett had 13 on Dec. 4, 2008 at Oklahoma. He has 57 assists and 28 turnovers, the only Trojan with a positive assist to turnover ratio. He has had eight games of one turnover or less and has 38 assists and 13 turnovers in the last 10 games. His 2.2-1 turnover-assist ratio in Pac-10 games leads the conference. He hit a career-high 3 three-pointers, two with under 2 minutes left to help USC defeat Cal on Feb. 4.
WASHINGTON FILLS UP THE STAT LINES -- Sophomore forward Leonard Washington played in his first game of the season on Dec. 23 after missing the first semester with academic issues and had an immediate impact. He scored 10 points, had six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and an assist vs. Saint Mary's on Dec. 23. He then scored nine points and had four rebounds and a block vs. UNLV on Dec. 25. In his first 13 games back, Washington has averaged 6.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and has nine blocks and 15 steals. Washington was fifth in scoring for USC as a freshman with a 6.1 average in 30 games, 13 starts. He scored in double figures six times last season with a high of 17 vs. North Dakota State on Dec. 20, 2008. His high game this season is 11 points at Oregon State on Jan. 28.
BIG TIME LEWIS RISING UP SCORING LISTS -- Senior Dwight Lewis has scored 1,352 career points, 13th all-time at USC and 71 points behind John Block (1964-66) who is 12th with 1,423. Lewis ranks 10th on USC's all-time three-point baskets list with 138 makes. Stais Boseman (1994-97) ranks 9th on USC's all-time three-point basket list with 145. Lewis led USC with a 14.4 scoring average in 2008-09, as well in three-point baskets (55) and free throw shooting (74.8 percent). He reached double figures in scoring in 27 of his 33 games last season, scoring a career-high 26 twice (vs. San Francisco on Dec. 1 and at Oregon on Jan. 2). He has five 20-point games this season (22 vs. UCR on Nov. 17, 21 vs. Tennesse on Dec. 19, 22 at Stanford on Jan. 6, 20 at California on Jan. 9 and 24 at UCLA on Jan. 16) and has had 14 career 20-point games. Lewis has averaged 15.1 points in his last nine games (136 points).
DRIVEN BY DEFENSE -- USC has held 67 teams to 60 points or less in the last five seasons (158 games), including 14 this season. The Trojans held 17 of their opponents last season to 39.2 percent shooting or less, and have held 82 teams under 40 percent shooting in the last 158 games. USC was outshot from the field just nine times last season and eight times so far this season (Nebraska, Texas, GT, WMU, Stanford, Cal, WSU, Oregon). USC has had a better shooting percentage that its opponent in 100 of the last 128 games. USC held Sac. State to 23.0 percent shooting on Dec. 8, the lowest percentage by a Trojan opponent since Loyola Marymount shot 22.4 percent from the field on Dec. 9, 1998. USC has held it opponents this season to a 37.5 shooting percentage, best in the Pac-10 and 10th in the country.
PAC-10 PREDICTIONS -- USC was picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 Conference in a vote by the league media. California was picked first, Washington second, UCLA third, Arizona fourth, Oregon State fifth, Oregon sixth, Arizona State seventh, Washington State eighth and Stanford 10th.
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